The Montréal Process Working Group was formed in 1994 as a bold, intergovernmental response to the pressing need for sustainable forest management. One of its first tasks was to develop and implement internationally agreed-upon criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests.
The Montréal Process Working Group brings together countries with highly diverse ecological, economic and social conditions to share experiences related to forest monitoring, assessment and reporting. The Montréal Process countries are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Russian Federation, United States of America, and Uruguay. These member countries contain 83% of the world’s temperate and boreal forests, 49% of the world’s forests, 33% of the world’s population, and are the source of 40% of the world’s wood production.
The Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators (Montréal C&I) are a tool for data collection and reporting for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests. They are designed and used to characterize the essential components of sustainable forest management, and provide a framework for describing the value and condition of forests. The Montréal C&I characterize forests as ecosystems that provide a wide, complex and dynamic array of environmental and socio-economic benefits and services. They are used to monitor and assess national trends in forest conditions and forest management, and provide information essential to the formulation of policies that promote sustainable forest management.
The fourth edition (October 2009) of the Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests contains the background, international context and conceptual basis of the Montréal Process on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests. The booklet also presents the current set of indicators for the seven Montréal Process criteria that countries will use for the third cycle of national reporting beginning after 2010.
Roundtable on Sustainable Forests
The Roundtable on Sustainable Forests is an open and inclusive process committed to the goal of sustainable forest management on public and private lands in the United States. Roundtable participants include public and private organizations and individuals committed to better decision-making through shared learning and increased understanding.
Photo Credit: Roundtable on Sustainable Forests
The purpose of the roundtable is to serve as a forum to share information and perspectives that will enable better decision making in the United States regarding sustainable forests. The roundtable serves to promote shared leadership and responsibility in contributing toward achievement of sustainable forests on public and private lands throughout the United States. The fundamental approach of the roundtable in carrying out its purpose is based on the belief that better data will lead to better dialogue about the sustainability of the nation’s forest resources, which will in turn lead to more informed, better decisions by stakeholders.
In addition to fostering dialogue on sustainable forests, one of the roundtable's primary areas of interest has been the implementation of an internationally agreed upon set of Criteria and Indicators (MPCI) for the purpose of developing a shared understanding of current forest conditions and a baseline against which to mark future progress toward sustainability. To this end, the roundtable has sought ways to energize and engage forest stakeholders in providing input to the development of two National Reports on Sustainable Forests, the first of which was completed in 2003 and the second in 2010 (to be published in June 2011).
An overall goal of the roundtable is to engage federal, state, private, and non-profit organization leadership in committing to collaborative capacity building that will improve the forest sector’s ability to promote sustainable forest management. This work includes making linkages to international sustainable forest issues and other roundtables, forums, and processes focused on other natural resources.
Local Sustainability Efforts
Advancing the concepts of sustainability, sustainable forest management and the use of criteria and indicators requires a broadening and deepening of the public understanding of these very topics at national and sub-national scales. Listed below are sub-national, state and localized efforts that facilitate coordinated assessments and reporting of the sustainability of forest resources, and communicate and coordinate data and programs within the sustainable forest community. It is the engagement of multiple stakeholders through collaborative efforts such as these that advance understanding, assessment and reporting of forest sustainability and adoption of forest resource management in a manner that integrates environmental, social and economic considerations.
- Sustainability Forestry in States of the Northeastern Area
- Sustainable Forests Partnership
- Stewardship Handbook for Family Forest Owners
- Maryland Strategic Forest Lands Assessment
- The State of Our Forests, Baltimore County, Maryland
- Oregon’s Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management
- Heinz Center: State of the Nation's Ecosystems Project
- National Association of State Forester's: Principles and Guides for a Well Managed Forest
In 2010, State forestry agencies nationwide completed a Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy. These documents outlined important issues, opportunities, and strategies for each State, and meet the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act requirements. The Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry have worked for more than a decade to assess and support forest sustainability at regional and state levels using agreed upon criteria and indicators.
The Sustainable Forests Partnership's mission is to document and promote innovation in sustaining forests and communities and assists others to integrate this innovation into policy and practice. The Sustainable Forests Partnership engages an expanding network of partners including university faculty, industry experts, non-government organization representatives, government agencies, and individuals in the development and production of: Identify key sustainable forestry issues and trends; Design and conduct sustainable forestry research; Develop education and training materials and events, and; Provide assistance services to organizations and individuals interested in sustainable forestry issues.
A helpful pocket guide from the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) for planning, managing and protecting your forest, your investment and your environment. NASF has written this handbook for the nation’s nearly 10 million non-industrial forest and woodlot owners, with particular focus on those of you who are in the early stages of considering how best to care for your forest and become a successful steward. First we discuss our seven principles of stewardship and the kinds of issues they raise. Then we help you apply these principles as you develop your own stewardship plan. Finally, we offer a sample framework of “indicators” to help you determine how well your plan is working.
Maryland faces many challenges in sustaining healthy, ecologically functional and economically viable forests in the face of rapid urban development. Once, more than 90% of Maryland was forested. Today 41% of Maryland’s land is covered by forest. Maryland is the nation’s fifth most densely populated state, with more than 5.3 million people. The constantly growing population has more than doubled since 1950. Maryland’s Strategic Forest Lands Assessment (SFLA) grows from the recognition that the state faces significant loss of the ecological, social and economic benefits of forests due to this rapid urban development. A compounding problem is that remaining forests are being fragmented from large, contiguous blocks of forest into many smaller, isolated patches. The use of criteria and indicators are intended to provide a common understanding of what is meant by sustainable forest management and a means for evaluating a country’s progress in meeting this goal.
Baltimore County is a national pilot for application of the MPCI at the community level. While many of the Montreal Process criteria and indicators describe conditions within forested areas, County data are better able to characterize forests across forested areas, or “patches.” Baltimore County’s Forest Sustainability Strategy is a proactive, comprehensive and balanced approach to the management of Baltimore County’s forest resources. Sustainability is defined here as “meeting the needs of society today without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” This Strategy summarizes current and future management challenges for assuring that forest resources provide critical ecological services while also meeting the socio-economic needs of the County’s citizens.
Ensuring sustainable forests in Oregon requires that the state understanding that the social, environmental and economic benefits of forests are not only important, but also interconnected. The Forestry Program for Oregon articulates the Oregon Board of Forestry’s (Board) goals, vision, and strategic plan for implementing policies and programs that promote sustainable forest management of Oregon’s public and private forestland. The Board believes that to be truly sustainable, forest management must be economically viable, environmentally robust, and socially acceptable.
The 2008 State of the Nation’s Ecosystems Report was released under the core premise that American citizens should have access to regularly reported, high quality, non-partisan information on the state of our lands, waters, and living resources, and that this information should inform environmental policy. The State of the Nation's Ecosystems was designed as a periodic report on the condition and use of the nation’s ecosystems. The report is the product of intensive collaboration between representatives of business, environmental organizations, academia, and federal, state, and local government, and the goal is to provide periodic, high-quality, nonpartisan information to decision makers and opinion leaders.
Forest owners as well as the general public are increasingly aware of promoting and working towards sustainability for the nation’s forests. Interest in understanding how to pursue well managed forests can, at times, be confusing due to the wide range of definitions, goals, and perspectives being promoted by stakeholders with different interests. The National Association of State Foresters developed the Principles and Guides for a Well Managed Forest as a means to assist in assessing the potential effectiveness of any system or program’s capacity to guide a forest owner or manager in efforts to achieve a well-managed forest while attaining his/her objectives. Fundamental to these Principles and Guides is the premise that forests are recognized as a community of interacting plants, animals, soil, water, air, and people within a major landscape – no longer just a concentration of trees.
Links to Other Resources
- Montréal Process
- Roundtable on Sustainable Forests
- Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable
- International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
- Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Indicators Site
- FAO/ITTO Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management
- International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)
- Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
- European Forest Institute (EFI)
- United Nations Environment Programme / World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
- Sustainable Rangeland Roundtable
- Forest Europe (formerly the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe)
- Lepaterique Process of Central America on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management
- The Dry-Zone Africa Process on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management
- Regional Initiative for the Development and Implementation of National Level Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of Dry Forests in Asia
- The Near East Process on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management
- African Timber Organization
- The Tarapoto Proposal of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainability of the Amazon Forest
- International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: The Way Forward (2003)
- The State of Chesapeake Forests (2006)
- Collaborative Partnership on Forests
- Community Indicators Consortium